Posts Tagged ‘driving’

Of Cabbages, Kings, and the Great Unknown

As usual, so much has happened I feel as though I got run over by a freight train.  Yet, of course, things are still the same, as is their underlying custom.  Today I woke up with the strong awareness that, finally, progress is being made.  I’m letting go of the past in the sense that I realize so much of it is just an encumbrance, baggage.  So much of what we do in youth, so much of what we learn and think, is far enough off the mark it’s amazing any of us make it.   The things that last, that work, come out of Love.  You can throw hormones in with it, yes, Gentle Reader, I’m not THAT draconian, but they just can’t be in the driver’s seat and neither, solely, can your brain- it has to be your heart.

Yesterday we went to town and passed the Green Pastures of the Lambs and Kids.  This makes me deliriously happy every time we go by, and this trip was no exception.  The pair of baby goats I’ve had my eye on this month were close by the road, and it was chow time.  Their happiness was like a huge wave moving out from them and you simply could not resist smiling and letting a big breath go.  There was HIGH SPEED TAIL WAGGING and JUMPING and SMILING and mom going, DON’T JOSTLE THERE’S ENOUGH FOR EVERYBODY and MORE JUMPING and enough tail wagging overall to power the yurt.  It was total joy.

Which was good because it balanced out the near death experience we had on the way home, following behind a no doubt certifiable, total idiot with a pickup full of garbage and an empty trailer waving all over the road- de rigeur for these parts.  The driving was worse than average, however, which means it was like something out of a horror movie.  Suddenly I found myself in a Spinning Subaru, whizzing around curves and spraying gravel.   While a bit peeved at the Partner for his impatience with the idiot but still in admiration of his skills as a wheelman, I wasn’t scared and in fact read the new Newsweek through a good bit of the rotation.

Later on, he complimented me for my increased patience with such excitements, and that made me think.  We’ve been together for a few years, and even with our (nightmarishly) challenging beginning,  the constant (incredibly close) proximity now and the (eye wateringly difficult) Things We Go Through Every Dratted Day, not excluding the periodic Cross Words, I am filled with gratitude.  Because of him, I’ve been able to make changes that were heretofore not possible- or that’s what I thought.  When you are around someone who respects themselves, completely respects you, respects what you believe, respects the work you do, and ON TOP OF ALL THAT? loves you too?  It can finally sink in to all those places nothing else ever reached.  And you, too, will be wagging your tail and jumping up in the air like those splendid little goats do.  At least, that’s what I’ve found.    So, no matter how frightened and anxious I get about things, which is plenty, and no matter how the world seems to be careening ever further out of balance, which is also plenty (and in my face- but again, even name changes won’t be enough of a disguise since nobody could make this stuff around here up),  I get closer every day to really understanding what compassion means, closer to living in compassion and from a place of love instead of fear.  Closer to understanding what that means, and closer to knowing that really, I don’t know a thing.  It’s kind of a relief, really, even WITH chest pain.   If you click on the link below, it’ll all make a lot more sense to you, too:

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1203/scaleofuniverse_huang.swf

One Day At A Time

Quite often, it is portions thereof, also.  Some days it gets down to ten minute increments.  Today is trying to be one of those days and I am stoutly not letting it.  It’s windy (35 mph) and my Rube Goldberg Internet (HUGHES NETWORK I’M TALKING TO YOU) is doing fun things like having the cursor move to the front of whatever line you’re typing, just out of the blue, or else getting lost completely- right after a whole lot of information has been entered.  Anyway it is, like many things here, good training in dealing with frustration.

Meanwhile it has been drama and excitement filled up here on the hill.  Unfortunately even changing the names won’t be enough, but let’s just say there were dramatic solo-car-let’s-roll-the-Volvo-and-total-its  (on the one straight part of the gravel road here, go figure)- and run-into’s of old lady cars in intersections at the store that starts with W and where we never go.  The run-into episode produced a driveable car, but sadly someone forgot to tie the hood down after it got crunched up and the next day it flew up into the windshield and that, Gentle Reader, was that.  So, net net two cars down.  There are way too many cars up here anyway, my opinion.  Fortunately, no one got injured which is quite amazing but there it is.  The car flip story led to, apparently, a veritable fire storm of impaired verbiage between the households involved and now everyone on the hill is in an uproar over changes in plans and whatnot. I was amused to hear that Car Flip was concerned about which rumor people were believing about the whole thing: one was there being a certain degree of Toasted On Board!  involved, the other that a leg was severed.  I am not answering the telephone anymore for a while, essentially.   We saw the car parts down on the road yesterday and that was enough.

Anyway, to counter all that, yesterday we were privileged to see the two falcons who live by us circle gracefully above the yurt, as if to show us their splendor.  The sun through the ring patterns on their tails was astounding.  Later on, there was a huge blue heron.  And this morning? A bald eagle.   The new crop of baby lizards is out running around, the frogs are talking, and the baby goats down the road are wobbling around their pasture.  For a few days they were sleeping on the green grass, looking like two velvet cream and maple colored packages with their legs and heads all tucked in, while mom grazed nearby.   There are millions of bees here too, and the bee keepers are out with their interesting trucks and lifts and veiled hats.  Our rosemary is beginning to bloom, with those incredible sky colored flowers, and buttercups are coming up.

It’s an interesting endeavor then, swinging between the looming black holes all round (our neighbors!, Iran! Rush Limbaugh!- about whom Harry Shearer totally rocked this weekend on Le Show), and the sense that progress is possible and everything is, in fact,  going to be not just fine, but perhaps really, really good.  Welcome to your multiple personality adulthood, perhaps.  In THE WEB THAT HAS NO WEAVER, I saw that the author, Ted Kaptchuk, has written a useful description of the differences between Western and Eastern medicines- specific analysis of a specific thing or symptom, versus understanding of the whole system, what may have brought the symptom into being as part of a larger entity, respectively.   The challenge of the current time, perhaps, is to merge those approaches.  I guess that would be like unifying the right and left brain?  But what the heck, it’s all in one place.  “Such a small space and so much mysteriousness” as the Dalai Lama said.  A daunting task too, perhaps, because even Kaptchuk with his powerful understanding of Chinese Medicine, sounded pretty ego/analysis oriented in a recent story on Placebo Medicine in the New Yorker.   In one spot, for example, he essentially said that what he did with his patients worked because he was a good healer and not because of the techniques and protocols involved.  This, to me, is a very western viewpoint- that you are doing this thing yourself, you are responsible for the results based on your thought process, and of course, what a good boy are you for this accomplishment.  My teacher told us at the beginning of one course of study that we couldn’t KNOW this material but we could BE it, and it would take a lifetime. I’m OK with that approach.  Every day then really brings something fresh, a revelation, and not just another knot to wrestle with til quitting time or it gives up.

This is kind of the crux of the whole thing, of course.  How to let go and merge with our world and do what we are here to do, every day, and be able to do it and let it go.  To not attach importance to ourselves because we have done x or y.  To do, as Lao Tzu wrote, our work and then let it go.  To achieve the paradoxical state of more intense living and being the more we shift out of the drives of the ego, and into the bigger picture.  Although it seems you’ll completely lose yourself, the reverse is really the case.  The same thing goes in terms of external events.  We cannot shut ourselves off and ignore everything, pretend to be something we aren’t or that things are some way THEY aren’t, but we also cannot let the energy and speed of an event suck us into a vortex where we lose both our momentum and our way.  There are so many hooks in all the drama it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re looking at.  What showed itself today was that the less one attends to the hooks and the more the attention is on the shape of the narrative in its entirety, the better off one will be.  Sometimes I wonder if I will ever pass this class!

 

 

Baby Animals

So far, they’re the best thing going on lately.  There’s a baby llama, baby goats, tee tiny lambs, and goofball calves.  The others all stick close to mommy but the calves- they get into twosomes and wander up down and sideways, then trundle around til they find the rest of the group and arrive looking a bit wild eyed and exhausted, with lots of stories to tell.  The colors on some of their coats are simply astonishing- some of the older calves from last year look almost air brushed, with gradations of charcoal dusting over their flanks.  The newest goats are an incredible white and deep coppery chestnut.  There are a few black lambs!  The miniature donkeys have also been out in force, with their diminutive stature and amazing gravitas, with soft and velvety cream colored noses.

So, yes, that’s the fun part.  Also I overcame my high level of resistance and intimidation and cleaned up my hard drive, then downloaded tax forms.  Although it is, little by little, Getting Better in the Bigger Scheme of Things, nonetheless living in a neighborhood where one neighbor is a self described pagan shaman running what appears to be a rooster farm, and the next closest ones are in an offshoot religious group of the National Apostolic Reformation and thus believe that the Statue of Liberty is possessed by evil spirits, WHEN ACCOMPANIED by any review no matter how brief of the news (who benefits from the New Mortgage Rules? if you guessed the banks, give yourself a point- for extra points clarify how although the Administration says it is not emphasizing enforcement in the now-infamous “War on Drugs” the budget for prisons, policing, arrest and trial has increased.  Guess the current number in federal prison in the US and you can go on to the next level!  That’s the part where you get to figure out how consumption alone can keep us all going ad infinitum….) balance remains elusive.

Anyway, Rome wasn’t built in a day, Gentle Reader.  When I ponder the magnitude of what we did in moving here, it seems as though we are making not unreasonable progress, even though the level of difficulty is mindboggling, time consuming and seemingly never ending in its escalation.   It does pretty much keep you in the now.  We had, however, to go down to the bay area last week and as always it left me awash in ambivalence.  It’s a beautiful place.  Both of us were born there and lived there for the most part of our lives so far.  Now, though?  The cacophony of Things and Stuff and Buy This and look out for that car pulling right into you and the general level of emissions energetic, carbon, vocal and otherwise- the energy is overwhelming.  It feels like a steam roller pushing everyone in a direction that, if they thought about it, they might not wish to go and certainly not in a flattened form.   There are fewer homeless people on the street in Oakland, but everyone who IS out there looks like they’ve been living pretty rough.  I don’t actually miss living there, which seems strange, and I’m not actually “used” to living here yet either.  But I notice that as we drive home and get onto the freeway heading directly north, and there are fewer cars, more sky, more nature….both of us visibly relax.  I look forward to coming home in fact, and the contrast between how we live now here and how our friends live now there- more like how we used to live, I suppose- doesn’t seem like a problem but rather a big positive.

As always, though, one is left looking at all of it, sifting and feeling it through.  This move we made- to greater simplicity on one level anyway- was really a conscious choice as I now realize.   Although it was immediately precipitated by our landlord’s belief in the Real Estate Bubble and Tax Breaks for Him, and all the rest of what the consuming class thinks is standard operating procedure (since this is how things seem to work at the present time), and certainly it felt almost indescribably awful- still it was a journey out toward what we wanted, as the humans we are, and also are trying to be.  There is, from time to time, enormous space to think here.  Enormous room for the heart to loosen and open, for the intuition to sharpen, for creation to be possible.  This isn’t bucolic, not a bit of it- but at times there is an astounding serenity and overarching Sense of Things as they truly are- ineffable, indestructible, grounded in beauty.  Maybe you really do have to walk through fire and die to the old ways before you can move forward.  I always thought that might be a bit dramatic but now? Really not sure.   Clearly there are some lacks handed out and attached to rural areas- bookstores, cultural diversity, high speed internet- and it’s interesting to look at that, since people in rural areas as it happens are not all morons who don’t pay any attention to the outside world, despite the image that may be held of them.  There really should be more of a happy medium, to my mind, because there are people who refuse to think EVERYWHERE as well as those who hunger for truth.  But all of us are trying to live, better ourselves, be happy and it seems more and more as though we are being carried in a giant current toward..who knows what?  Some seem totally unaware of the rocks ahead, others seek them out. There’s a disconnect, a dissonance, a strangeness to it all that may well be simply the way that opportunity, shift and change present themselves now.  It’s a bit hard to tell from here.

Finding the thread

Ah, momentum, Gentle Reader.  After last weekend’s adventures and, incredibly, even poorer internet than I have here at Chez Rudimentary, it’s time to get back on the Word Horse, which seemed to have meandered off somewhere leaving me with a ball point pen and notebook for company.

It was an amazing two days at the fair, especially given that Friday and Saturday involved about four hours of sleep what with packing and anxiety and dishwashing.  But, we did see the eclipse.  Did we ever.  We drove (for the last time. The tattered nerve endings deserve at least that much of a break.) over Highway 36 which runs between I5 and 101 here in the wilds of Northern California.  This road is sheer hell although it is mind bogglingly beautiful, which I am sure I mentioned last summer when we made this trek.  Your maximum speed is about 35 mph, on the good spots, given that it rises up through two mountain ranges, up up up up, and hairpin turns don’t even begin to cover it.  Plus there are a few spots where it just DROPS with no real warning and your stomach is on the ceiling.  Did I mention there is a paucity of guard railing?  Well, there is.  I had been hoping we’d miss seeing the sheer cliff drops in the dark but no such luck.  In any event.   We left in the magnificent profound blackness of dawn, with the eclipse starting.  The few lights and Christmas decorations visible were like strange beacons. There was ice on the road and snow sparkling in the headlights on the sides.  The moon became a moving and undulating gray cloud, and would intermittently disappear as we wound through the mountains, reappearing in its mysterious not-thereness.  You could see batches of stars far, far out, and mist-like swathes of constellations as well.  The sunrise began as an intense tomato red line across the horizon behind us and gradually filled the sky with golden clouds and ethereal blueness.  The snow now sparkled in the sun and we were suddenly driving through a field of diamonds.  There was also fog (THE JOY OF IT ALL) and in some meadows we passed it wreathed the ground and the trees, everything sparkling in the rising sun light, like some ancient story.  Which I suppose it was, really.  It felt like being in something that had happened forever and would continue to happen forever, whether or not it was seen through any eyes.

So, net net, four and a half hours later we’d gone slightly under 200 miles and arrived at our destination with a fabulous four minutes to spare before the starting gate opened.  Where we unloaded in a mad dash, I set up the booth, and the festivities began.  Concerning which, more to come.

At a total loss for words

So there are pictures.

My Driveway With Police Car

My Driveway With Police Car

If you’ve read this blog before, you already know how much trouble fun we have with having it be distinguished from a parking space.  I believe the picture above shows, quite clearly, that this is an unambiguous, clear, driveway.  Now:

Actual parking place behind Police car

Actual parking place behind Police car

Okay then.  As I stand in the driveway flapping my arms in frustration and stamping my foot, I notice the following.   No gas leak, no fire, no flood, no crazy person screaming, no loud music, no live gunfire, no knives, no one down.   No visible Police Officer.  In fact, no nothing.  Late afternoon, curbs empty because people haven’t gotten home from work.   Lots of parking everywhere, in short, including up the street where the (non)incident actually was(not).   A driveway exists at that residence, did I mention that?

So.  There I am, as usual, rushing off to something and guess what?  I can’t get out of my own driveway because it is being blocked by a police car. I was totally dumbfounded.  A police officer couldn’t figure out how not to park in a driveway?  In a non-emergency, no shooting,  situation,  surrounded by parking?   Especially parking that involved simple use of the reverse gear before exiting the vehicle?  Gentle Reader, I can come to no other conclusion than this.  I have the DRIVEWAY FROM HELL.

Other concerns are raised by the rest of the story, of course.  Remember, it’s me.  Not enough to just feel my blood pressure rise.  This parking contretemps extended for over 45 minutes.  I took a walk to cool off and when I came back the car was still there.  Forty five minutes.  Would this not indicate to you that this was a non-emergency?  Other police cars just then arrived on the scene, plus a meat wagon.  I asked one of the arriving officers if they could please move the car.  I suppose I should be relieved that he didn’t say, it’ll just be a few minutes because, well I couldn’t blog from jail I bet.  No, he said, in this order,  (1) I didn’t park it, and (2) (with that Police-ly squint) We may be dealing with a dead body here.  I am bleeding, Gentle Reader, from the bite marks on my lips.  Meanwhile, driver of said meat wagon emerges from the back of it with some honking big metal cutters.  Still everything is dead quiet.  So.  My neighbor wanders over, and after saying, Gee I thought YOU were getting arrested.  Or that girl next door to you.  You’re both pretty wild, he recounts the truth of the matter.

Which is, an elderly lady missed a doctor appointment.  Doctor calls police, then landlord.  Nothing is wrong.  Nothing at all.  They wound up not having to take the bolt cutters to the front door because guess what?  The landlord, who lives next door (a duplex), shockingly enough has a key. I don’t know about you but I am impressed with the mental dexterity it took to hold that development off for an hour.  Possibly the order of the phone calls.  I don’t know.

All I know is this.   1) I see purse snatchings and dangerous speeding on the street and I can’t get anyone to come and deal with it.  Much less three.  Also, I am not sure how qualified someone who can’t even not park in a driveway in a non-lethal force or dangerous situation is to be a Police Officer.  There’s some attention and judgment missing there.

2) Sadly, I think I have to admit I live in a parallel universe.  There just isn’t any parallel parking there.  Just the entrance to never-never land I mistakenly thought was my driveway.

Mysteries of Life

The thing about blogging is: on one hand, you’re completely disclosed, open, seen by everyone. It’s weirdly terrifying.   On the other, what is the sound an unread blog makes?  It’s weirdly freeing.  You can write about whatever you want.   

Nietzcshe wrote that if one has character, one has one’s recurring experience.  Apparently I have a dumptruck load of character because I keep bonking into many things on a recurring basis.  Who knew? 

Today’s recurring experience involves something that is becoming ever more mysterious: driving.  And parking.  I live on a very busy street, where parking is at a premium on our side.  Interestingly, there is always parking on the other side of the street.  Generally there’s even parking on OUR side of the street if you look.  However.  There is a driveway attached to my place, a long driveway going back, with a wide driveway entrance in front.  In short: IT IS CLEARLY A DRIVEWAY.  My understanding about driveways is that they are used to go in and out.  Used.  To go in and out.  On the schedule of whoever has the actual use of them.  To wit: A driveway is not a parking place.  Before I moved here I thought that was common knowledge.  But, no.  This morning as I was working away, we heard a car engine in the driveway.  Not expecting anyone, we looked out the front door.  Indeed, there was a truck, which got its engine turned off as we watched, containing two men with one cellphone conversation going on. We had  no idea who they were.  Going outside to enquire solicited totally blank incomprehension and then what is becoming a phrase that makes me want to pick up a large shovel and bash its utterer upside the head.  Well, we’re only going up the street.  (What? Que? Excuse me? ) Yes, going up the street/over there/mumble mumble.  ( I’m sorry, but NO.)  We said: well, this is a driveway and you can’t park here.  That remark appeared to go completely over their heads, but fortunately it was The Partner who was having this particular chat and these guys saw the wisdom of finding an actual parking space.  The LAST time this happened recently, I padded out in my basic work attire which, let’s face it, is often flannel pajamas and a sweatshirt, or at least something with a large bear on it.  The guys saw me coming out of my front door, squeezing by their enormous truck, and walking over to them.  Is this a concern of yours?, I was asked after I said thisisadrivewayyoucan’tparkherethankyousomuch.  I lost it that day, sadly.  No, I said.  I just parade around in flannel pj’s inspecting driveways early in the morning.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?????  There have been literally dozens and dozens of these incidents.  It is of course special fun when the driver of the car speaks no English.  That allows me, however, to mime crushing the front end of the car which has worked on one occasion.  Out of all the times we’ve called the police (many)  one time only have they actually towed the vehicle away.  Usually they come quite a bit later, ask US a million questions about who we are and how old we are and why we’re calling, then look up the phone number for the license plate and apologetically call the misparked car’s owner and say, oh gee we are SO sorry but boozilla here wants your car out of her driveway SO SHE CAN GET TO WORK.  Or  TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM. Or  TO PICK UP HER MACARTHUR GENIUS GRANT.  Or something like that.  

My recurring experience ?  I simply don’t get it.  What has happened here?  People seem to think that the sky’s the limit and whatever they want to do is just fine, no matter what, where or when.  The simplest courtesies and social rules are to be completely disregarded in favor of one’s own slovenly wishes  convenience.  Whatever it is, it’s Just A Little, you know, hammering, or yelling, or stinky trash spilling into your yard, or barking dogs from 2 to 4 a.m., or whatever it is someone wants to do.  You, the Noticer and Person Being Inconvenienced, are An Idiot and S.O.L.  So I am really confused.  My thought was always that cooperation and courtesy were how one dealt with the day to day.  Plus just basic attention.

 I would ask what YOU think, but it’s a big cyberspace out there.  And you’re probably looking for someplace to park.

Singing in the Rain

OK, so today was a little frustrating and I found myself, after some un-clever scheduling and errand running in the rain which means everyone forgets how to drive,  in a Not Very Good Mood.  It’s better now, some deeeeeep breathing and so whatting later.

First.  I had a newsletter to get out today.  All was going well…too well, apparently.  I resized a photo and !WHAMMO!,  the entire newsletter went rhomboidal.  It still isn’t perfect (” “) but I managed to wrestle it to the ground and get it out.  I forget, also, often, that the point of the newsletter is to market my business and this time was  no exception.  I remembered at the last minute to put in something about an actual product though! Next month, who knows. I may actually make the leap to putting a PICTURE of a product in.

Second.  We’re out of peanuts around here.  Gentle Reader, you may think you can tell Boozilla there isn’t a roasted, unsalted peanut in the kingdom.  I beg to differ.  Nobody tells Boozilla much of anything when it comes to peanuts, except, yes your highness I have installed the daily (one)  peanut-ness in your breakfast!!!  I had, in a previous episode of Going Outside and Leaving the Mind at Home, bought peanuts, brought them home, and experienced the Royal Displeasure upon discovering they were salted.  While it made me feel better that at least she doesn’t eat things that aren’t good for her…still. No peanut, and We Are Not Happy.  Trudge back to store, no peanuts.  Three days later, no peanuts.  Anywhere. My kingdom for a peanut.  I finally got the, believe it or not, LAST BAG of unsalted roasted peanuts at the grocery store, which was a good thing since I was about to start snivelling.   Peace has been restored to the parrot world, if no other.

Third.  I really love baseball and am having a hard time understanding why Manny Ramirez is still unsigned.  The man is a superior baseball player, and it just makes me wonder.  And since this is my blog, out in cyberspace all by its lonesome, I can ask.

Fourth.  Now that my eyes have unswelled from crying through most of the Inauguration and parades and balls, I’m still uplifted and restored by the thought that the system did, finally, work as it was intended to work.  These are truly rough times but it does seem that cautious optimism may be in order.  It is nice to feel this way at long last.

Fifth.  Every day I am reminded of just how challenging it is to be a human. ( Not just driving, either, although that will quickly take a person several steps back in the Consciousness Department.  The mystery of what green lights, turn indicators, lanes, and solid yellow lines are for, and all that.)  Today I didn’t do so well on keeping my end up somehow, but I am always so thankful for the love and support I get from those close to me.  As an older black woman said to me on the day of the Inauguration, everything’s gonna be just fine, sugar.